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Weekend Preview for August 19

Your weekend time is valuable and at the end of a long week, the discretionary time must be spent to its maximum value. In order to help narrow choices down on the film, television, and gaming fronts, every Friday the Weekend Preview gives you the rundown of your options and an educated guess as to which ones make the most sense.

Nick Nunziata and I predicted the box office returns for these films last Sunday.

At the Movies

Kubo and the Two Strings

Director: Travis Knight
Stars: Charlize Theron, Art Parkinson, Matthew McConaughey
Current RT Meter: 94% Fresh
My box office prediction last Sunday:
$45,550,000
Nick’s box office prediction: $25,000,000

Laika Studios has been producing some of the best animated features of this decade. By most accounts (including Nick’s), Kubo and the Two Strings has continued that pattern of excellence. Director Travis Knight has crafted a rousing adventure that is a true splendor to behold. Considering the franchise output of 2016 has been more miss than hit, it’s great to see an original property get so much love. The fact that it’s utilizing a unique art form is also a hefty bonus.

The Verdict: This has the potential to be one of the year’s best films. Don’t miss out.

War Dogs

Director: Todd Phillips
Stars: Jonah Hill, Miles Teller, Ana de Armas
Current RT Meter: 60% Fresh
My box office prediction last Sunday:
$21,000,000
Nick’s box office prediction: $14,000,000

Todd Phillips’ take on this crazy true story looks like it could be a solid diversion. However, the film’s subject matter and tone haven’t quite gelled together in the marketing. Jonah Hill and Miles Teller are strong leads, but there hasn’t been much to set this apart from other wacky true crime flicks like Michael Bay’s Pain & Gain. Is this as much of a comedy as the trailers have suggested? Or is it more dramatic than it’s letting on?

The Verdict: Maybe give this a little while. Could make for a good lazy Sunday outing.

Ben-Hur

Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Stars: Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell, Rodrigo Santoro
Current RT Meter: 29% Fresh
My box office prediction last Sunday:
$15,666,666
Nick’s box office prediction: $15,666,665.50

Ben-Hur is looking to be another costly flop in a summer full of big-budget misfires. There has been nothing captivating about the marketing, and the studio has shifted its approach by trying to sell the film to Christian audiences. Paramount definitely wanted this to be another Gladiator/Clash of the Titans kind of success, but poor reviews and weak interest are already making Ben-Hur feel tired.

The Verdict: It might be worth it to chuckle at Morgan Freeman’s ancient dreadlocks. He’s going full Battlefield Earth in this.

On the Tube

Fear the Walking Dead

This is going to sound callous, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of fervor around Fear the Walking Dead. The spinoff has had steadily declining ratings since its premiere, and the fan response feels intensely muted in comparison to The Walking Dead. If this midseason return continues to slump with ratings, will AMC start reconsidering its future? Granted, it still has a relatively large viewership. It feels like the jury is still out on this.

The Verdict: If you’re on board, you’re probably itching for this to start back up. If not, you may want to wait and see what the future holds.

2016 Rio Olympic Games Closing Ceremony

weekend-preview-rio-olympics-mascots

The Rio Olympics have had their bright spots, but it feels like the controversies and poor conditions have been dominating the conversation. The local population’s treatment of foreign athletes, the troubling health conditions, and the criminal activity of certain officials has made this a less than inspiring event. Hopefully, the closing ceremonies will send us out on a high note.

The Verdict: Have you been watching up to this point? You might as well stick around for the finale.

For the Gamers

Grow Up

The sequel to Grow Home looks to offer fans more of what made the first game so uniquely charming. Critical consensus has been about the same as its predecessor, so it doesn’t sound like there’s anything extremely innovative about this new entry. We did get our hands on it, so go check that out if you want a deeper look at this cute little adventure.

The Verdict: Did you like the first one? You’ll probably like this one.

See you next weekend!


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